As cases of COVID-19 have soared to 100,000, Gov. Tate Reeves is playing a dangerous gamble with the welfare of Mississippians. We’re currently at almost 700 cases and 13 deaths, but a lockdown isn’t in place. The social media photo opportunities and press conferences haven’t been halted, yet the administration continues to ignore the pleas of his citizens. There is grave concern for those who will undoubtedly catch this illness or have to work on the front lines. Many are questioning his lack of action.
How do we compare to other states?
Mississippi has approximately 2.98 million residents with close to 700 cases. Texas has around 2052 cases reported at the time of this article and a population of 28.7 million. With respect to population, Mississippi is 1/9th the size of Texas, but has almost a third as many cases. According to the Insider.com, 70 percent of those residing in Texas are currently in lock down. However, Mississippi still refuses to issue firm orders for a lock down. This didn’t stop Tate from standing against abortions during this time.
Colleges and schools across the state are closed to on-campus learning in an attempt to control the spread. Stores however remain open. People are still visiting beauty shops, retail, and restaurants.
What about the economy?
Is this truly in the best interest of the economy? Opendatanetwork.com predicts that as of 2019, about 21 percent of people in Mississippi who are ranging in ages from 21-64 don’t have insurance for 2019. These numbers are important, as they fall in the gap of qualifying for Medicaid as a child and qualifying for Medicare as a senior.
The cost of treating corona virus for the uninsured in a hospital setting can be expensive. Time reports that one woman was charged almost $35,000. Interestingly, Gov. Reed’s website states, “I am also the only candidate in this race who opposes expanding Obamacare and recognizes the disastrous effects it would have on our system long-term.” Why does this matter? 1/5th of adults in the age range where coverage typically gaps in this state lack insurance. Expanding this bill would have allowed that those that work and are unable to afford the luxury of healthcare would have less debt and better access to treatment.
There’s a common misconception that people who can’t afford health insurance are refusing to work. According to kff.org, nationally, “Though most uninsured people have a full time worker (72%) or part-time worker (11%) in their family, many people do not have access to coverage through a job, and some people, particularly poor adults in states that did not expand Medicaid, remain ineligible for financial assistance for coverage.”
People who don’t have access to healthcare are less likely to seek treatment immediately.
Citizens want stronger action:
Tate Reeves, this isn’t the time to take a political stance. One of the most important aspects of being a leader is to empathize with the people, and truly listen to their concerns. His official Facebook page is inundated with comments begging for increased restrictions. Kristi Smith Graves, wrote on Reeve’s Facebook page, “I am disappointed and appalled at your lack of action for our great state. It will cost many lives that could be saved. I didn’t think you were the type of person that would want that on your conscience or not do all that you could possibly do for our people. STEP IT UP. You’re not listening to the experts. I hope you can live with yourself when all of this is over.”
The Sun Herald reported that people from Louisiana are seeking refuge in Mississippi, particularly in the coastal regions. A coastal resident I spoke with, that chose to be unnamed, said, “There are an abundance of people with vacation property here. They’re scared. They’re coming here to get away. Even the beaches still have people. No one seems as frightened here.” Louisiana has a population of 4.66 million and 3315 cases reported.
The Tate Reeves Facebook page posted on March 27, “Large businesses that do not allow employees who could work from home to do so are risking some serious lawsuits down the road if major outbreaks can be traced back to them.” Why is it the responsibility of businesses to manage this crisis and send people home, but not your responsibility as our governor to order citizens to stay at home through a decree.
Update: Gov. Reeves Facebook page held a prayer this morning. Throughout the entirety of it people continued to plead for further action on his part.
As of March 29 the deaths have reached 14 and total cases 758. The cases in Texas have climbed to 2000. The ratio between population and number of cases remains around the same, 1/9th the population and 1/3rd of the cases.
photo courtesy of: pixabay.com